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Oct. 16, 2021 | Saturday
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Volunteers needed for Niagara Glen cleanup day April 28
Volunteers needed for Niagara Glen clean-day on April 28. (Brittany Carter/Niagara Now)

Niagara Parks is enlisting the community to take action against trash and is looking for volunteers to help clean up the Niagara Glen on April 28.

Volunteers will meet at the Niagara Glen Nature Centre at 3050 Niagara Parkway in Niagara Falls by 10 a.m. on the Sunday, spending the day immersed in the natural setting while picking up trash along the way. The clean-up will continue until 2 p.m and volunteers will receive a choice of hamburger, veggie burger or hotdog for lunch beginning at 12 p.m. Chips and water will also be provided and volunteers are encouraged to bring a re-fillable water bottle.

Heather Gormen, manager of education and public programming at Niagara Parks, said she's hoping to cap the amount of volunteers off at 200 due to staffing limitations and food supply for the day. There were already more than 100 volunteers registered by Wednesday morning, she said.

With an increase in visitors at the popular hiking destination - she said Niagara Parks counted 130,000 people using the trail in the 2018 season - the amount of garbage and debris also grows. The natural not-so-hidden gem of Niagara becomes increasingly cluttered over the season with evidence of local and visiting hikers who leave snack wrappers, drink cans and water bottles along the trail.

"We are promoting sustainability and cleaning up our environment, taking only pictures and leaving only footsteps. We thought it would be a good way to kind of kick-off the season and let people know that we are open and we are serious about  keeping the NIagara Glen clean." 

Niagara Parks has held community pick-up days in the past. Last year saw an Earth Day clean-up with the Niagara Glen Nature Centre opening on Earth Day in 2018.

"We decided since we renovated the nature centre (in 2017) it would be a good opening weekend kick-off to do a clean-up down in the glen." 

As weather is often unpredictable in April, Niagara Parks advises volunteers to wear proper footwear and dress in layers. Gormen also wants volunteers to be aware that there are 80 stairs to get down into the glen, so it is a physical hike. 

Garbage bags and gloves will be provided for the clean-up. Parking will be free for the clean-up on April 28. Gormen said there is no fee for parking until May 1.

Niagara Parks introduced paid parking a few years ago, "part of that was because we were getting so overrun in the glen, and it was damaging to the forest down there." Gormen said the paid parking mitigated the influx of people, protecting the environment in the glen. "For the most part, the people that go down there are respectful of the area."

Volunteers can register on the Niagara Parks website.